2019 Budget passed with a majority of 45 votes

2019-04-05 at 18:15

The Fifth Budget of the Good Governance Government, ‘Focusing on Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor’ was passed in Parliament with a majority of 45 votes a short while ago.

The 2019 Budget was passed after 119 Members of Parliament voted in favour while 74 MPs cast their votes against the proposal.

A vote was taken through the electronic method after an Opposition Parliamentarian requested Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya to call for a division.

Subsequently, a vote was taken and the Budget for the year 2019 was approved in Parliament.

Parliamentarians representing the United National Party, a majority of the Tamil National Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress voted in favour of the 2019 Budget.

A group of United People’s Freedom Alliance MPs who defected from the Opposition recently, also voted in favour of the 2019 Budget during the Third Reading division.

Members of the Joint Opposition, a group representing the United People’s Freedom Alliance, the JVP and the EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda voted against the 2019 Budget.

The Fifth Budget of the good governance government was presented in Parliament by Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera on the 5th of March.

The Bill contains the estimated expenditure and revenue of the government until the 31st of December 2019.

The debate on the Second reading of 2019 Budget was held for a period on six days. The vote on the second reading of the Budget was passed in Parliament with 119 voting in favour and 76 voting against on the 12th of March.

The Appropriation Bill for the year 2019 was first presented in Parliament in October last year however due the Constitutional crisis the presentation of the 2019 Budget was delayed.

Following the re-instatement of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s Prime Minister on the 16th of December, the present administration re-commenced the process to present the Budget proposal.

Due to time constraints, the government decided to present a ‘Vote on Account’ for the first four months of 2019. Accordingly a ‘Vote on Account’ for the first four months of 2019 was presented in Parliament on the 21st of December.

According to the 2019 Appropriation Bill, state expenditure has been set at Rs.4,550 billion. Total government revenue is expected to be approximately Rs.2,390 billion this year.

The Ministry of Finance announced that the government through the 2019 Budget has allocated Rs.2,200 billion for debt servicing.

According to the Ministry the amount is the highest a government in the history of Sri Lanka is compelled to bear for debt servicing.

The recurrent expenditure includes Rs.1,425 billion while capital expenditure will be Rs.838 billion.

According to the Appropriation Bill, the 2019 Budget deficit will be 4.8% of the GDP.

State revenue which was 11.5% of the GDP in 2014 is expected to be increased to 15% of the GDP this year.

The Finance Ministry said the 2019 Budget is prepared under the Medium Term Fiscal Framework by adopting the performance based budgeting approach with the aim of strengthening the on-going fiscal consolidation programs.

The government is also aiming to achieve the target of increasing the state revenue to 17% and limiting the recurrent expenditure to 15 percent of the GDP in the year 2021.

Through the 2019 Budget the largest allocation has been made for the Ministry of Defence which comes under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena.

The Ministry of Defence has been allocated Rs.393 billion for the year 2019.  A total of Rs.14 billion has been allocated for the Office of the President, while the Prime Minister’s Office has been allocated Rs.1.6 billion rupees.

The Ministries of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs Ministry held by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have been allocated Rs.98 billion rupees.

The government has made an allocation of Rs.183.8 billion for the Finance Ministry.

The Ministry of Health has been allocated Rs.187 billion, the Ministry of Highways Rs.176 billion, the Ministry of Education Rs.105 billion and the Ministry of Public Administration with Rs.263 billion.

Although the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government was allocated a total of Rs.292 billion through the 2019 Budget, Members of Parliament defeated the allocation during the Committee Stage.

Members of Parliament for a period of 19 days debated on the Third Reading of the 2019 Budget.

Subsequently, the final vote on the 2019 Budget proposal was held this afternoon in Parliament.